Billy Conn, nicknamed “The Pittsburgh Kid,” was an American professional boxer who fought in the Light Heavyweight division. Born William David Conn on October 8, 1917 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Conn fought a total of seventy-seven boxing bouts, winning sixty-four (64) of them, fifteen (15) of which were knockout victories. Aside from his boxing prowess, he was also known to be the most handsome boxer who ever graced the ring; even landing a Hollywood role in the 1941 film, “The Pittsburgh Kid” for his great looks.
Unlike most boxers, Conn skipped being an amateur fighter, entering the boxing arena as a welterweight fighter at age sixteen (16), trained by Johnny Ray, the same man who trained boxing icon Harry Greb. His first welterweight fight was unsuccessful, as he lost a decision to Dick Woodward, a fighter who was then five (5) years older than him. From that point on, Conn would maintain such particular trend; fighting against older and heavier boxers. From the welterweight division he moved up to the heavyweight category, blazing a trail so impressive that five years after his professional debut, at the age of 21 years old, he had defeated nine (9) world champions.
Conn’s strengths as a fighter included the capability to deliver powerful blows, the skill to move around the ring with exceptional foot speed, the intellectual capacity to plan a defense, and the advantage of having an “iron chin.” His best form emerges in the later rounds, a great advantage over most opponents whose energy wound down as the fight would progress.
Billy Conn passed away at the age of 75 years old in May 29, 1993 in his home city.